Contributed By Asst. Supt. Eddie B Pruitte, Jr. (Holiness Tabernacle COGIC)
If you are familiar with ancient Jerusalem, then you know about the Sheep Gate. The Sheep Gate was the first part of the city rebuilt after the captivity; it was where the offerings and sacrifices were brought. Many believe the Pool of Bethesda, the place where Jesus healed the lame man, was near this part of the city. The Sheep Gate is also mentioned as the terminating part of the wall that surrounded Jerusalem – or the “City of God.” And it truly seemed like such a city for those who attended the February 25th installation service of Pastor Harold the Sheep Gate Church Of God In Christ into the First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Virginia!
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The saints anticipated a high time in the Lord when it was first announced that a new church was being birthed in our Jurisdiction – Sheep Gate COGIC. Continuing our long-standing practice of blessing a new pastor and congregation spiritually and financially, Bishop Thomas announced that the Jurisdiction would support the church with its attendance. Since his consecration as jurisdictional prelate more than 27 years ago, Bishop Thomas and the saints of Virginia One have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to newly formed and installed pastors and congregations.
Long known for his many talents and powerful preaching, Elder Walter Harold also holds the distinguished position of being one of Bishop Thomas’ sons in the gospel. Despite the numerous installations, the saints knew this service would be a little more special and the worship service proved to be just what was anticipated.
The Jurisdictional Choir opened the service and sang under the anointing – the saints responding as the glory of the Lord filled the room. When it was time for the Word of the Lord, Bishop Thomas preached on the topic, “A Workman Approved of God,” coming out of II Timothy 2:14-21. Bishop Thomas encouraged both Elder Harold and his lovely wife, Missionary Harold, to continue in the Lord and to hold fast to God’s promises.
“Brother Harold,” Bishop Thomas declared, “people will come and go, but the Lord will never leave you!”
After the saints rejoiced again, it was time for the ceremonial installation of the new pastor and congregation. Our hearts beamed with pride as the Elder Harold and officers of the new church came forward to sign their charter and other official documents, birthing them into the Church Of God In Christ. After the jurisdictional officials had signed their names, Bishop Thomas addressed the now Pastor Harold. The saints looked with awe as the distinguished leader was brought to tears; they were all moved to see a father give his blessings and bid his son god speed.
A day that began with praise at the Sheep Gate was now ending with praise and the godly embrace of a leader and new pastor. We praise God and celebrate for a new branch of Zion – Sheep Gate COGIC, under the leadership of Pastor Walter and First Lady Harold!